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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Profound Normalcy of Numbers

Today's Reading:
  • Numbers 1:1 - 3:51
  • Proverbs 10:24 - 25
Read Bible Passages Online

Numbers 1:1 - 3:51
My first reading in Numbers involved, well, a lot of numbers!  There are counts of males troops, counts per clan, and counts of firstborn sons to name a few.  The Israelites male troops (criteria: 20 years or older, male, and not a Levite) numbered 603, 550!  Those numbers still baffle me, for every single person included in that 603,550 was delivered from Egypt (we know this because it's only been a year since leaving Egypt, and each of these males are at least 20).  And that doesn't even include the women or the children.

After all the people are counted, the Lord gives them instructions from where to camp to what order to march in, all according to the tribe they belonged to.  Each tribe was to camp under its family's banner.  The Levites were reserved to camp around the Tabernacle.  They were not included in the count of the troops for they were to assist the priests and were in charge of disassembling, moving and reassembling the Tabernacle and all its contents. 

It amazes me how the day to day life of the Israelite people was cataloged in the Old Testament.  It truly is an historical count of these people.  God's miracles are preserved right there along with the detailed counts of the clans, just as it happened.  It is written like a history book.  Not speculation, not after the fact analysis, but like a history book.  Like it's the most natural thing in the world to have the Lord part the Red Sea to allow an entire people through, like it's normal for food to fall from the sky, like it's normal for water to appear in the desert at will, like it's normal for the Lord to be living amongst you, His presence hovering above in a cloud by day and fire at night.  Like it's as normal as taking a census of the number of available male troops.

I guess the normalcy of these first few chapters of Numbers is profound to me, simply because it's normalcy.  We aren't being asked to believe in anything, we're just given an historical account of these people.  It just reinforces my belief (not that I ever doubted) about the bible being the actual account of the history of humanity.

Proverbs 10:24 - 25
24  The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted.
25  When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
So the choice here is between having our worst fears come true and having the problems of life completely devastate us, or have our hopes granted and to stay planted firm regardless of what the world throws at us.  I choose option number two, what about you?

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